Tattoo and Piercing Aftercare Guidelines
There is no “ONE WAY” to care for a tattoo. It varies based on each individual body type and the way in which the body heals itself. Lifestyle is extremely impactful on healing a tattoo. So we suggest taking your multi-vitamin (if you take one), eating healthy (your fruits and veggies) and getting a good night’s sleep! It is normal to experience some pain, burning, stinging, redness, swelling, seeping fluid, tightness of skin and itching within the first 7-10 days of getting a tattoo. However depending on health, environment, body part, size and amount of tattoo work done, that time can be shorter, or longer! For example, feet can easily take longer due to movement, rubbing against socks, shoes, sandals, and the natural flow of the body’s blood and lymph systems. Pay attention to your body and what it needs. If you have a question or concern, contact us immediately! Waiting a day or two can make a BIG difference.
It is extremely important to follow the aftercare instructions your artist has given you. ALWAYS consult with your artist prior to changing the instructions or trying something different that you’ve read on the internet or heard from a family/friend/other artist/etc. Your artist is a professional who knows what you are going through, and how to help you if needed. Wash your tattoo once daily with an anti-microbial soap. Additionally, wash your tattoo if it gets dirty or after work/exercise/activities that produce sweating. Washing the tattoo excessively will not help it to heal faster, alternatively it could actually delay healing!
Wash your tattoo LAST when showering. Your tattoo should feel smooth after washing it. If it feels slick/slimy/gooey gently apply pressure and rinse until it feels closer to normal. Upon exiting the shower, DO NOT dry your fresh tattoo with your towel. Pat dry with a clean paper towel and allow tattoo to air dry for 3-5min prior to applying ointment.
Apply a light coat of tattoo aftercare ointment 3-5 times daily. It will differ for each individual body. It’s important to not use too much ointment as it will clog pores and potentially cause a breakout. It’s also important to not use too little, as drying out will cause scabbing, cracking and possible bleeding of the tattoo and may cause permanent damage to the tattoo. A rule of thumb, when your tattoo feels tight and dry like a sunburn, apply a light coat of aftercare ointment. If the tattoo is appearing soft or gooey, use less aftercare ointment less frequently. As the tattoo begins the healing process it may itch, flake, peel or scab. DO NOT itch, pick, scratch, scrub, rub, or exfoliate the tattoo as that could lead to scarring, bleeding, and further damage to the tattoo.
Closely follow this procedure minimumly for the first 2-3 weeks of healing. You may be able to decrease the amount of times you apply ointment based on how quickly you heal. You know your body, use less or more as it needs. It takes 4-8 weeks for a tattoo to heal. Once the tattoo appears healed, there are still some healing processes going on underneath the tattoo. We suggest using a natural fragrance free lotion on the tattoo to keep the skin moisturized, looking and feeling good.
DO NOT touch tattoo with dirty hands, towels or clothing.
DO NOT let the tattoo dry out.
DO NOT oversaturate with ointment.
DO NOT soak in bath or hot tub
DO NOT go swimming (pool or ocean) for 4-6 weeks.
DO NOT use Neosporin.
DO NOT wash with scented soaps or body washes.
DO NOT expose to direct sunlight or tanning.
DO NOT use sun block on a healing tattoo! (After healing ALWAYS use sunblock on your tattoos!)
We use a dermal wrap as an initial healing wrap on all our tattoos. What is a dermal wrap? It’s a thin medical grade adhesive wrap that creates a bacterial barrier which eliminates contamination of the tattoo area and promotes quicker healing.
If you have ONLY AN OUTLINE OR LETTERING: Keep the dermal wrap on for 12hours.
For ALL OTHER TATTOOS: Keep the dermal wrap on for 12-24 hours. Leaving the dermal wrap on for 24 hours will provide the best results as long as the tattoo continues to be producing fluid and/or is not dry.
Dermal Wrap and Exercise
We have noticed on a few clients once the dermal wrap was removed within 1-3 days a small itchy rash will develop AROUND the tattoo but not ON the tattoo itself. It tends to happen when the pores of the skin are more open, and are exposed to more of the adhesive OR if there is an allergy to the adhesive. Therefore, we suggest removing the dermal wrap prior to any activity or exercise that will cause sweating. If a rash does occur, DO NOT SCRATCH IT, just continue to care for your tattoo as normal and wash the rash with the anti-microbial soap once daily until gone.
The only reasons for which you should remove the dermal wrap early are as follows:
Your body is not seeping much fluid and the tattoo underneath is dry, and not moisturized by fluid.
The wrap has “Sprung a Leak", the fluid is not remaining trapped under the wrap to moisturize the tattoo and it's getting dry and irritated.
The skin underneath and/or around the tattoo appears red, raised or irritated.
The skin around the tattoo is becoming itchy while the dermal wrap is still on.
The skin around the tattoo is becoming red & feels like it's stinging/burning while the wrap is still on.
To Remove the Dermal Wrap
The best method to remove the dermal wrap is in the shower. Removing the dermal wrap should be the LAST thing you do before exiting the shower. Complete all your normal shower activities and cleaning BEFORE removing the wrap. Allow warm water to saturate around the wrap. Then remove the wrap by gently pulling the wrap down and away from your body with the wrap and tattoo under the shower water. Slow and steady pulling will remove the wrap without damage to your skin or your tattoo. Now that your tattoo is exposed, before exiting the shower, wash your tattoo with an anti-microbial soap. Rinse the tattoo well by allowing the shower water to run over it for several minutes.
Upon exiting the shower, DO NOT dry your fresh tattoo with your towel. Use a clean piece of paper towel and gently PAT DRY your tattoo. Allow your tattoo to air dry for several minutes and then apply a thin layer of the tattoo ointment aftercare you purchased.
We have noticed on a few clients once the dermal wrap was removed within 1-3 days a small itchy rash will develop AROUND the tattoo but not ON the tattoo itself. It tends to happen when the pores of the skin are more open, and are exposed to more of the adhesive or there is an allergic reaction to the adhesive. Therefore, we suggest removing the dermal wrap prior to any activity or exercise that will cause sweating. If a rash does occur, DO NOT SCRATCH it, just continue to care for your tattoo as normal and wash the rash with the anti-microbial soap once daily until gone.
What is NORMAL after a piercing is preformed?
INITIALLY: Some bleeding, oozing, discomfort, soreness, localized swelling and/or bruising may occur. DO NOT turn, tug or touch your jewelry and piercing.
DURING HEALING: Some discoloration, tenderness, itching, and secretion of a white-ish yellow fluid (it is not pus or infection) will form a crust on and/or around the jewelry and piercing.
ONCE HEALED: Without daily washing, smelly bodily secretions may occur. Daily moisturizing the piercing with a small amount of coconut or jojoba oil with help avoid that and keep the piercing happy and healthy. A piercing may appear healed prior to COMPLETE healing. The tissue remains fragile so BE PATIENT and leave it alone, do not force it to move.
DO NOT soak piercing in bath, hot tub or go swimming in a pool or ocean until the piercing is completely healed. IF you like your piercing, keep jewelry in it at all times as even healed piercings are likely to heal up, aka "close".
Suggested cleaning solutions
A mild fragrance free liquid soap (anti-bacterial is a plus).
Salt soaks can be made by adding 1/4tsp of NON-iodized sea salt to 8oz. of distilled water. If you cannot find distilled water bottled purified water can be used as well. We suggest using salt soaks IN ADDITION to soap NOT instead of soap.
Piercing sprays such at H2Ocean Piercing Spray, Briotech Spray or non-aerosolized Wound Wash is suggested.
And alcohol-free antiseptic mouth rinse. We suggest using H2Ocean Oral Rinse or Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse.
Chamomile tea salt soaks can be made by adding a chamomile tea bag to the abover mentioned salt soak aid in reducing redness, swelling, irritations and promote healing.
Witch Hazel and Tea Tree Oil IN A CARRIER OIL can be used with over reactive piercings and hypertrophic bumps. Note that coconut oil can increase uptake of essential oils quicker than other oils so you may want to avoid using if sensitive.
Piercing Cleaning Instructions
~ Wash your hands with soap prior to cleaning or touching your piercing. ONLY touch a new piercing when cleaning. DO NOT rotate it or FORCE it to move! For all jewelry tighten/check your ball/gem tops daily and before and after showering.
~ Wash your new piercing with soap once daily followed up with a sea salt soak. Use a pea size drop of soap to clean the piercing and jewelry, then rinse off well.
~ Gently warm the sea salt soak. Soak piercing for 5min twice daily or once a day for 10min depending on your life-
style and ability. Pat dry with a clean paper towel only. DO NOT force or move the jewelry, but it’s OKAY if it moves on it’s own accord. You can decrease washing and soaks as your piercing heals. Cleaning and soaks should be done for a MINIMUM of 4-8 weeks for most piercings, however we suggest 6 months for nostril and cartilage piercings. Resume this routine whenever irritations occur.
~ You may use Tea Tree oil diluted with Coconut Oil after cleaning your piercing but no more than ONCE daily and no more than a couple days. Stop if any irritation around the piercing occurs.
~ An over the counter anti-inflammatory can be taken if you are not allergic. Follow the instructions on the package.
Oral Piercing cleaning instructions
~During the healing process gently rinse mouth for 30-60 seconds with oral rinse upon waking in the morning, after all meals, after smoking, and before bed. Over cleaning and using Listerine or inappropriate products may cause discoloration and irritation of the piercing and surrounding tissue.
~ To reduce swelling allow small pieces of ice to dissolve over piercing. An over the counter anti-inflammatory can be take if you are not allergic.
Tips for specific areas
~ NAVEL: A hard vented eye patch can be worn under tight clothing to protect the piercing from impact and irritation during sports and other activities.
~ EAR and FACIAL: Keep clean phones, eyeglasses and anything that comes close to the piercing. Use caution with styling items and DO NOT use make-up.
~ NIPPLES: Support of a sports bra or tight cotton tank may provide protection and comfort during healing, especially while sleeping.
~ GENITAL: Sexual activity can resume as soon as you feel able. Use condoms to avoid contact with partner’s bodily fluids. AVOID saliva in piercing area and wash hands before sexual contact. Sea salt soak piercing after any sexual activity.
If you have any questions or concerns about the healing of your tattoo or piercing, please call us and make an appointment to COME INTO the shop! It’s most helpful to see your question/concern IN PERSON. It is the quickest and most effective way to help you!